Galloping To Success: Setting Your 2024 Equestrian Goals
As we slide into 2024, many equestrians will be gearing up for the year ahead. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be planning competition entries, booking clinics or scheduling lessons. Your goals may include qualifying for a championship, stepping up a level or teaching your horse a new dressage move. Alternatively, you might want to conquer a fear or simply teach your horse to load and travel safely and happily.
Setting goals - however big or small - is a fundamental aspect of any rider's journey, providing direction, motivation, and a roadmap to success. In this blog, we will delve into the significance of goal-setting for equestrians and explore how purposeful journals, such as the No Horse? No Problem! Riding Lesson Journal and the Horse Owner's Journal by Purple Horse Planners, can be valuable companions on this exhilarating ride.
The Importance of Goal-Setting for Equestrians
Setting goals is not just a practice for competitive riders; it is an essential tool for all equestrians, regardless of their riding level or discipline. Goals offer a clear sense of purpose, helping riders focus their efforts on specific achievements. Whether your aim is to improve your riding skills, build a deeper connection with your horse, or complete a particular event, well-defined goals act as a compass, guiding your journey and keeping you on track.
Goals also serve as a source of motivation, turning the seemingly insurmountable into achievable milestones. They encourage riders to push their boundaries, embrace challenges, and celebrate the progress made along the way. Moreover, setting goals fosters a sense of accountability, as riders are more likely to stay committed to their aspirations when they are clearly outlined and documented.
Goals can be especially useful when you are short of time or money. Having something specific to aim for can help you to decide what to work on for each ride and where to allocate your funds.
Things to Consider When Setting Your Equestrian Goals
It can be so easy to feel super motivated right at the start of the new year. However, when setting your goals, you should be mindful as to how you aim to achieve them. Below, I have outlined a few things you could consider when setting your equestrian goals for 2024:
Time: Assess your daily schedule and commitments. How much time do you realistically have for riding, competing and caring for your horse? Setting aside non-negotiable time for riding or training can help you to prioritise your equestrian goals even when the demands of your job, family or home life threaten to steer you off-course.
Money: We all know that riding - at any level - is an expensive sport. If you are having lessons, consider how often you can ride. There isn’t much more frustrating than making progress and then having to take an extended break from lessons for financial reasons! Think about whether you can set aside money for show entries or additional clinics or lessons that your riding school might offer. If you are planning to compete, you will need to factor in the cost of entry fees, additional equipment (e.g. a competition jacket) transporting your horse to events and other costs such as insurance.
Access: If you are riding at a riding school, consider the types of horses, facilities and opportunities they offer. Not all riding schools will be able to offer everything you want. For example, some riding schools offer simulator lessons, clinics or in-house competitions. If you have your own horse, consider your access to training facilities, transport and turnout. You may need to budget to take your horse to arena or course hires if you don’t currently have access to these facilities.
You and Your Horse’s Ability and Interests: It doesn’t matter what level you are at now. However, you should factor in your riding ability as well as your horse’s fitness and ability when setting goals. Pushing yourself or your horse too far and too quickly increases the risk of accidents, setbacks and confidence knocks. There’s nothing wrong with aiming a bit lower and raising the bar later on. Working on your own fitness out of the saddle may also play an important role in helping you to achieve your goals.
Strategic Planning for Competitions: If you have a specific competition you want to enter or a championship you want to qualify for, you will need to plan your training around those events. It can help to start from the target date and work backwards.
Mental Wellbeing: The mental and emotional wellbeing of both horse and rider is becoming better recognised. Ensuring that both you and your horse have enough downtime is crucial to success. A tired, frustrated or burnt-out horse or rider is a recipe for problems. Remember that your own and your horse’s emotional wellbeing is more important than any goals, competitions or results. Be prepared to take things more slowly or take a step back if you or your horse need it. Incorporating mindfulness and visualisation techniques can help you to foster a positive mindset, and celebrating small victories will help you to maintain perspective and enjoy the journey.
Seasonality and Duality: Your equestrian journey will not be a straight line. You will encounter setbacks, some of which will be totally outside of your control. Consider the impact of the weather on your training and competition schedule, and be prepared for event cancellations and unfavourable riding conditions. Remember to consider the impact of the weather on your horse (e.g. mud fever, respiratory problems; weight gain / loss) and be ready to adapt his management regime to accommodate this.
Incorporating these considerations into your goal-setting process will not only make your equestrian goals more realistic and attainable but also pave the way for a fulfilling year with your equine companion, no matter what happens.
Using Journals to Set Your Equestrian Goals
Journaling has taken off in recent years and is used by many people who want to manage their thoughts, set and hit goals, create new habits or visualise plans. Journals specifically designed for riders and horse owners provide a structured and organised way to record, track, and reflect on their equestrian journey.
Equine Journal for Riding School Clients
The No Horse? No Problem! Riding Lesson Journal is designed especially for riders without a horse of their own, offering a tailored approach to goal-setting in riding lesson environments. This journal allows riders to set their riding goals, document progress, and note areas for improvement. Its structured format makes it easy for riders to reflect on their experiences, ensuring that every lesson contributes to their equestrian journey.
Using the No Horse? No Problem! Lesson Journal allows you to set your goals and document each lesson. Halfway through the journal, there is an extra page where you can review your progress against your goals. At the end of the journal, you can review your overall progress and make a note of what you want to aim for next.
Equine Journal for Horse Owners
For horse owners, the Horse Owner's Journal by Purple Horse Planners provides a comprehensive tool to manage your goals as well as your horse’s care. This journal incorporates goal-setting, ride journaling and care and management notes such as feed charts and horse and owner details.
The Horse Owner’s Journal is well-suited to the amateur owner and leisure rider. It can be used to document rides, hacks and non-ridden sessions. For example, you could use the journal to document you and your horse’s progress in learning to load and travel safely.
Set Your 2024 Equestrian Goals with Purple Horse Planners
Goals can be used by riders in all disciplines and at all levels to help guide their equestrian journey. The No Horse? No Problem! Riding Lesson Journal and the Horse Owner's Journal by Purple Horse Planners provide horse riders and owners with the tools they need to set, track, and achieve their equestrian goals. So saddle up, grab your journal, and let your 2024 journey unfold in the company of your four-legged companion.